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A new Ipsos MORI survey of Captains of Industry finds that industry leaders’ top priorities for investment are very different to those of the British public.
The findings come from the annual survey of FTSE 500 business leaders which found them putting encouraging investment in infrastructure at the top of the list of policies they think should be included in the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.
The study’s findings chime with those from an Ipsos MORI survey of the public, also undertaken in late 2016. Business and public sentiment is aligned in several key respects. Both think that as a country we are not doing enough to meet our infrastructure needs and investing in infrastructure is vital to Britain's future economic growth. Captains’ hold these views even more strongly than the public.
But there are also sharp differences in opinion. The British public want their voices to be heard, with 67% agreeing that delays to infrastructure projects are justified if it means that local communities’ views can be heard properly. Captains are less insistent; only 40% hold this view and 43% disagree.
Business leaders are also even more negative about Britain’s record on infrastructure. 69% think that Britain has a poor record at getting national infrastructure projects right compared to just under half, 48%, of the public.
Most striking, however, are the different priorities both groups have. While flood defences feature highly among the public’s wish-list – 45% choose this – only 19% of Captains thing it should be a priority for investment. The gap is larger for high speed broadband (32% vs 80%) and airports (14% vs 66%).
Neither the public nor Captains prioritise water supply and sewerage, but new housing supply is among their top three.